Marines of Tarawa coming home

| October 11, 2017 | 10 Comments

Chief Tango sends us a link to the Washington Post which reports on the funeral of 2nd Lieutenant George Bussa whose remains were lost after he was killed in the maelstrom of the amphibious landing on Betio Island. A year before, he was Platoon Sergeant Bussa on Guadalcanal where he earned a Silver Star;

After his platoon leader was evacuated for illness, Platoon Sergeant Bussa took command and personally led his platoon into action in the ravine west of Point Cruz and at all times fought bravely. Against heavy opposition the men under his leadership destroyed three enemy machine guns and other weapons. He accompanied the Company Commander and the Demolitions Officer into the enemy lines to locate targets. With the fire of his platoon he covered the demolition party while enemy positions were destroyed.

The Post tells of his final moments on Betio Island with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division;

He had a wife — and a baby girl he had never met — back in California and several brothers in the service.

As the platoon attacked, it was assailed by enemy soldiers inside the bunker. Bussa, who was 29, was killed, and his men were driven back. After the battle, his body was buried in a trench, but after the war, it could not be found and he was declared lost.

Hondo told us that his remains were identified back in April.

His baby girl, Jerilyn Heise, now 75 years old was at Arlington yesterday when 2LT Bussa finally made it home;

On Tuesday, 73 years after his death, Bussa’s body, recently recovered and identified, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery as his daughter, Jerilyn Heise, 75, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren looked on beneath a stand of towering Willow Oaks.

Thanks to the good folks at History Flight, with help from DPAA, they are bringing more of the Marines of Betio home;

Next week, another Marine killed at Tarawa, Cpl. Walter G. Critchley, 24, of New Rochelle, N.Y., is scheduled to be buried in Arlington.

On Nov. 14, a third Marine killed and lost in the battle, Cpl. Anthony G. Guerriero, 21, of Boston, is to be buried there.

And on Dec. 8, a fourth killed and lost at Tarawa, Archie W. Newell, 22, of Faith, South Dakota, is scheduled for burial there.

They say Tarawa, but the focus has been on Betio Island where more than a thousand, mostly Marines, were killed.

Category: We Remember

Comments (10)

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  1. Reddawg_03 says:

    Welcome home LT

  2. Ex-PH2 says:

    It’s a pity she had to wait so long, but he is home, at last.

    May the road rise to meet him and the wind be always at his back.

  3. FuzeVT says:

    Glad you’re home, sir.

  4. Sparks says:

    Dusty in here today. Welcome home LT. Rest in peace in your home soil now. God bless your family.

  5. OldSoldier54 says:

    Long time coming, but that’s ok. Welcome home LT, welcome home.

  6. Green Thumb says:

    Welcome back, LT.

    It took a while.

    Get some rest.

    You earned it.

  7. RGR 4-78 says:

    Welcome home 2nd Lieutenant George Bussa, may you Rest in Peace.

  8. UpNorth says:

    Welcome home, LT. Rest in peace.

  9. Just An Old Dog says:

    Welcome Home Marines. Can’t say enough good things about History Flight.
    The initial internment of the Marines ( and Sailors) KIA on Tarawa was a huge foul up. Several small, poorly marked cemeteries that were covered over by weather and construction. By the time they went to bring them home after the war there were over 500 they couldnt locate.

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